2011 Dates Announced For Special Events And Festivals

“Free-For-All” Festivals Return To The Lakefront
2011 Dates Announced For Special Events And Festivals

Summer will be here before you know it and The City of Chicago is proud to present three of summer’s marquee events as free admission festivals, once again. Returning to the summer schedule is the 28th Annual Chicago Blues Festival, June 10-12; the 53rd Annual Chicago Air and Water Show, August 20-21 and the 33rd Annual Chicago Jazz Festival, September 1-4.

The 28th Annual Chicago Blues Festival kicks off the lakefront festival season June 10-12 in Grant Park. For three days blues artists from Chicago and around the country will celebrate a blues legend with music rooted in this year’s theme, Sweet Home Chicago: A Centennial Celebration of Robert Johnson. The full line-up will be announced soon. For more information on the Chicago Blues Festival and updates on the schedule please visit www.chicagobluesfestival.us.

A longstanding summer tradition, the 53rd Annual Chicago Air and Water Show, will rock the lakefront August 20 & 21, 2011 for the largest FREE show of its kind in the United States. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights will headline the show along the lakefront from Fullerton to Oak Street, with North Avenue Beach as the focal point. The show runs from 11 am until at 4 pm both days.

In early April nominations will begin for the USAF Thunderbirds Hometown Hero program. The Chicago Air and Water Show and the Thunderbirds are seeking a “Hometown Hero” from the Chicago area who has displayed the same effort and sacrifice put forth by American’s Airmen every day. The nominees will be considered for a ride with the famed jet team in one of their F-16 during the week of the show in August. In 2009, Brian Otto, a member of the Chicago Fire Department’s dive team was selected as Chicago’s Hometown Hero.

The Air and Water show is presented by Shell Oil Products U.S. For updates and show information visit www.chicagoairandwatershow.us

The 33rd Annual Chicago Jazz Festival will once again be free admission, produced by the City of Chicago and programmed with the Chicago Jazz Institute. This year’s event will be held in three locations: Chicago Cultural Center, Thursday, Sept. 1 and an evening at Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion on Friday, Sept. 2 before the festival returns to its home base with four stages in Grant Park, 11am – 9:30pm, Sept. 3-4.

The complete line-up for the festival will be announced in mid-May and for updates, visit the festival website at www.chicagojazzfestival.us.

The Mayor’s Office of Special Events has merged with the Department of Cultural Affairs and now is a division of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Look for our new look in the April newsletter.

After 20 years the Office of Special Events will not produce the Taste of Chicago this summer. We are taking a new approach to Lakefront Festivals by turning over the operations of the Taste of Chicago to the Chicago Park District. By making the best use of resources the four smaller music festivals (Gospel, Celtic, Viva and Country) will be incorporated into the Taste. The Taste of Chicago will be held June 24 – July 3 and will remain free.

The Chicago Blues Festival and the Chicago Jazz Festival will include food and beverage booths. Restaurants interested in participating can apply on the festival websites.

See the schedule below for a complete listing of all the free events the City of Chicago will present in 2011. To stay updated on all programming visit www.explorechicago.org/specialevents

2011 Chicago Events Schedule

* Chicago Farmers Markets – May-October / Various Locations
* Chicago Neighborhood Festivals – May-September / Various Locations
* Bike Chicago – Year-Round / Various Locations
* Kids & Kites Festival – May 7 / Lincoln Park
* Chicago Memorial Day Parade – May 28 / State Street
* Chicago Blues Festival – June 10-13 / Grant Park
* Bike to Work Rally – June 17 / Daley Plaza
* Chicago Air and Water Show – August 20 & 21 / North Avenue Beach
* Chicago Jazz Festival – September 3 & 4 / Grant Park
* Halloween Franken Plaza – October – TBA / Daley Plaza
* Santa House – Nov. 24-Dec. 23 / Daley Plaza
* Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony – November – TBA / Daley Plaza
* Maxwell Street Market – Sunday’s Year-Round / Desplaines & Roosevelt
* Snow Days Chicago – January 2012

Richard M. Daley

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